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Letter to the Editor - Environmentalist unhappy with election

To the Editor:

First off: Holy, holy, holy…Like [many of] you, I’m stunned and virtually speechless. Something really, really sad happened [Tuesday] night and there’s no way to sugarcoat it. I’m grieving for all the new threats to our progressive values on climate justice, lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender (LGBT) rights, racial equality, stronger unions, economic fairness, and more. Many people voted for intolerance Tuesday. But what happens next is up to all of us.

What should we do? First, take the time you need to process this outcome and grieve in whatever way works for you – with friends, on a long walk, with your kids. Honestly, there’s been lots of crying and hugging around the CCAN offices today. We’re grieving together. Allies are also organizing peaceful vigils across the nation this evening to show resolve and solidarity.

Next, once you’ve taken a deep breath and dusted yourself off, keep a few things in mind. First off, on the climate front, Chesapeake Climate Action Network (CCAN) will not slow down one bit. While we support climate action at the national and international levels--and we fear what Trump will do there--we have always been most focused on getting things done at the state and local levels. In fact, virtually all of America’s biggest clean energy successes in recent years have come at the state level, from Washington State to California, from Maine to Maryland to DC to Virginia.

And now, with a Trump presidency, state-based climate action has never been more important. It’s the collective fortress of the environmental movement. Proof? In our region in recent years we have stopped new coal plants in Virginia; passed clean electricity standards in DC; and imposed a temporary fracking moratorium in Maryland. We’ve done all this under both Democratic and Republican governors and Presidents. So if you want a tonic to Trump, a place to go in times of trouble, stay involved with CCAN! We’ll be your shelter for local climate activism. 

Looking forward, in 2017, CCAN will keep fighting for a permanent, statewide ban on fracking in Maryland from the mountains to the Chesapeake Bay. In 2017, CCAN will keep fighting to stop massive fracked-gas pipelines across Virginia using lawsuits and people-powered resistance. In 2017, CCAN will keep fighting to put a fee on carbon fuels in the District of Columbia that will redistribute the revenue progressively to lower and middle income residents, addressing economic injustice. If these are campaigns you want to be part of, then stay active with CCAN.

Also know that we fight for more than energy justice. Trump is a threat to all of our progressive values and the progressive community must stand together. Which is why CCAN will continue to work across our region for issues like paid sick days for all workers, an increased minimum wage, an end to racial profiling by police, fair laws for transgender people, and more. We will pitch in everywhere we can. Count on it.

Nothing will turn us back. Nothing will slow us down. Not Trump. Not anyone. That gives me hope. You give me hope. And we need each other now more than ever.

Mike Tidwell
Director, Chesapeake Climate Action Network

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